In college I supported myself by working at a now-closed Utah restaurant named Le Parisien. It was a fun place to work, and the tips were so good that I kept waiting on tables there long after I graduated and became a teacher. At Le Parisien I had memories of serving people like Robert Redford, Vincent Price, and Billy Joel, and "the restaurant" as we called it, was where I learned to eat things like escargot, Bernaise sauce, and hearts of palm. Besides the famous Le Parisien garlic bread, one thing that made this place a favorite with locals was the wonderful Vinaigrette dressing. I ate a salad with that dressing nearly every shift I worked there, so you can imagine how excited I was when stores in Utah started carrying it about fifteen years ago.
A few years ago I was sad to hear that Max Mercier, the colorful owner of Le Parisien, had died. I wondered what would happen with the dressing, but he obviously passed on the business (possibly to his ex-wife, Katie?) because the dresing was still on the shelf at my store. Nowdays, I can get Le Parisien dressing at Costco in Utah (although they don't carry it at Costco.com, so I doubt if it's available in other cities.) Whether or not it's widely available, and despite the complaints I'll probably get from people who would never buy pre-made dressing, I've loved this dressing so much for so long it seemed fitting to feature it for Kalyn's Kitchen Picks, where I talk about products I love.
At "the restaurant" this dressing was served on simple iceberg lettuce, but I'm more likely to eat it on romaine or cucumbers. However, my absolute favorite use for Le Parisien vinaigrette is to mix it with chopped fresh basil or basil puree and make basil vinaigrette for drizzling on tomatoes. When it's summer and tomatoes are starting to ripen, this is something I always have in my fridge.
My apologies (and condolences) to readers who live where this product will never be available. But for my readers in Utah, if you've never tried this dressing, give it a try. It just might become one of your favorite dressings too.
South Beach Suggestions:
Although the label lists sugar as an ingredient, this dressing has 0 grams of sugar in 2 tablespoons of dressing, so it's perfect for the South Beach Diet or any other low-glycemic eating plan.